Commelina erecta

Whitemouth Dayflower, widow’s tears, day flower, white-mouth dayflower, erect dayflower

Description: perennial  

Place of origin: North and South America 

Urban habitat: commonly found in disturbed sites, along roadsides, railroad tracks ecological function: pioneer species; food for wildlife especially white-tailed deer.

History: Variable in appearance, Commelina erecta is currently found in temperate and tropical regions on many continents but is considered endangered in a number of US states. The Seminole tribe of the southern US used the sap from its stem to soothe irritations. It also purportedly has been found to contain properties to treat fever, sterility, spasms, and urinary problems. The genus Commelina was named for members of the 18th century Dutch family Commelyn. The 2 upper petals are said to represent the 2 brothers who were famous botanists. The lower petal, almost unnoticeable, represents a third brother who died young, before accomplishing anything in botany.